The food was delicious, even though we didn’t get to try Brazil’s most famous dish. 

The coastal city of Izumo in western Japan’s Shimane Prefecture is known primarily as the location of what is said to be Japan’s oldest and most sacred Shinto shrine, Izumo Taisha Shrine. But did you know that it’s also famous for having amazing Brazilian food?

With many Japanese young people of the city moving out to find opportunities in bigger cities, Izumo companies have faced a labor shortage in the last few years, and have turned to hiring overseas workers. Many of them were from Brazil, and as a result, the Brazilian population has grown exponentially, forming a hub of Brazilian culture in the city to include, of course, delicious Brazilian food.

And we’re not talking Brazilian food modified to suit Japanese palates. We’re talking authentic Brazilian food made by and for Brazilian families looking for a taste of home. Learning this, we had to go try some, so we packed our bags and headed for Izumo.

The restaurant we picked is a popular place about eight minutes by car from Izumo Station called Brazilian Restaurant Kizuna. “Kizuna” in Japanese means “bond”, and though we didn’t ask, we suspect that the name was probably meant to represent the bond it celebrates between Japan and Brazil, or the bond it creates within the Brazilian community in Izumo. Either way, it’s also located on National Highway 184 and has a big sign on the wall, so it’s hard to miss.

The entrance was up a short flight of just two steps, and on the door there was a sign with a mix of Japanese and Portuguese. On the top, “Tabehoudai”, which means “All you can eat“, was written in hiragana, and under that it said “Self-service À Vontade”. Our Portuguese is a little rusty, but we recognized “Self-service” to mean it was a buffet. The rest of the information told us that the buffet is available from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m, and you get 60 minutes to eat all you can.

Well, alright! We never say no to a good buffet.

When we went inside, we were promptly greeted by a Brazilian staff member. “Are you Japanese? Is this your first time?” When we replied “Yes” to both questions, within moments a Japanese waiter appeared from the back of the restaurant, who said with a big smile, “Today we’re offering a buffet.” The promptness with which we were attended to made it seem like they had a good system going here, and we found the teamwork among the staff to be pretty impressive.

As we crossed the restaurant to our table, we couldn’t help the feeling like we’d been transported to Brazil, thanks to all of the other customers being Brazilian and even the TV showing Brazilian programming. It was like we were on a little trip without even leaving the country.

Well, one great part about traveling is trying the food, right? We dove right in. Since it was buffet-style, we resolved to just pile our plate with things that looked delicious, regardless of whether we understood the Portuguese menu or not. And the great thing was, everything was included in the buffet–beef and pork, sausage, bean soup, salads, and even dessert–so we had plenty to choose from.

We did have some method to our madness, however. The Brazilian customers were eating meat with rice, so we took them as a reference and piled some beef and sausage on ours. Trust us, it tasted as good as it looked.

What a meal! As it turned out, this was a voluminous and plentiful meal full of meaty goodness, so we were pretty pleased. But by the end of it we were so full that we couldn’t even have dessert, never mind a second helping.

▼ Even though it looked so good!

By the way, one pretty famous Brazilian dish is a bean and meat stew served over rice called feijoada, but we didn’t get a chance to try it because it was all gone before we got up to dish. Well, that’s to be expected of a beloved dish that everyone wants to eat. Maybe it’s as calming and familiar as miso soup is to Japanese people?

What we did eat was deliciously hearty and satisfying, and though we aren’t Brazilian and can’t vouch for the foods’ authenticity, it’s definitely popular among Brazilian expats. If you find yourself in Shimane Prefecture, perhaps touring one of the country’s favorite shrines or popping by the “kawaii” Giant Buddha statue, then why not make a stop at Brazilian Restaurant Kizuna in Izumo and try it for yourself?

Restaurant information
Brazilian Restaurant Kizuna / ブラジリアンレストラン 絆
Shimane-ken Izumo-shi Otsu-cho 390-7
Hours: 10:00 a.m. to 3 p.m., 6 p.m. to 11 p.m.
Closed Mondays

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